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#31 of 60 Old 02-17-2012, 02:07 PM
 
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I have some ancient decorative cinder blocks left from when the house was built (100 years ago!)  I use them to create a border for the slightly raised bed I've built with compost over the years to improve our native sand and rocks. 
The blocks are great for planting herbs.  You can water or not as needed for each type (some like it dry) and the roots of spreaders like mint and oregano are contained by the blocks. l
I also plant them with edible flowers like nasturtiam to attract bees and beautify the space. The poles in the photo are for the tomatillos and tomatoes later in the season. Peas and beans are growing against the fence in the back.


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That looks great! I love the hand made look of the cinder blocks, too! So much more handsome than your typical cement cinder blocks.

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#32 of 60 Old 03-04-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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The big challenge with a smaller garden is crop rotation.  There is really only a small area that gets good sun so its hard to move things around.  This year I plan to put my peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos into large pots in the garden, to give the ground soil a respite from the nightshade plants (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant.)  The beans will move to the front - I'll do bush beans instead of pole.

 

I like the idea of dividing the garden into quarters, and rotating the plant families clockwise to give each sector a 3 year rest.  But I need to wait a year or two to start that plan since most of the garden has had tomatoes and nightshades in the last 2 years.

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#33 of 60 Old 03-04-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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The big challenge with a smaller garden is crop rotation.  There is really only a small area that gets good sun so its hard to move things around.  This year I plan to put my peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos into large pots in the garden, to give the ground soil a respite from the nightshade plants (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant.)  The beans will move to the front - I'll do bush beans instead of pole.

 

I like the idea of dividing the garden into quarters, and rotating the plant families clockwise to give each sector a 3 year rest.  But I need to wait a year or two to start that plan since most of the garden has had tomatoes and nightshades in the last 2 years.


Amen.  As far as small garden's go, ours is pretty big;  4 beds 10X5 each and then a front bed about 5X20 in the front yard.  Access to sunlight messes with our options to rotate;  one bed and the front are VERY shady, so the greens/beets/carrots/peas have to go there.  I've tried other things there for 2 years now, with no real production.  The other beds are mostly nightshades or squash, so there isn't much rotation options.  We grow  A LOT of tomatoes and potatoes (one full 5X10 box of each) so DH wants to build a more permanent structure for them.  I am going to try to convince him to make something we can move, so we can eventually at least rotate the squash with the nightshades.  Till then, we amend heavily with compost.  I think I am going to learn more about green manures for next year.

 

 

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#34 of 60 Old 03-05-2012, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I got my seed starting set up done yesterday. I bought an under cabinet light and mounted it in the kitchen yesterday with aluminum foil on the underside of the cabinet to help reflect more light downward (you can't see the foil at all so it doesn't look too junky). What does look kind of junky is the fact that I have my mini greenhouses elevated under the light on my stackable cooling racks for baking. I don't want my seedlings to get leggy, so as they grow taller I can just remove a rack to provide more height. So it'll work in the limited space I have. Someday I'll have a dedicated shelf in my kitchen or even a potting shed for such things, but until then this will be fine. 

 

Last night my husband planted some herbs with our five month old son. He did all the work of course, but the baby was pretty fascinated watching and listening to Daddy explain the process, so hopefully we have another little gardener in the house! 

 

For the rest of the seeds, I need to get our two varieties of hot peppers, dichondra and snapdragons planted soon since they take the longest to germinate. I've decided to buy tomato starts from our favorite farmer at the farmers market in a few months when they have them ready - they're growing a variety I suggested to them and their herbs starts last year were awesome. 

 

Anyone else getting things going yet?


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#35 of 60 Old 03-07-2012, 04:44 PM
 
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So much information in this thread!  I'm new here and just wanted to say hello!  We live on .64 acres in the suburbs in zone 5.  We have a main garden (24 ft x 36 ft) a smaller long garden (3 ft wide by 12 ft long) and we use pots around the yard.  We also have a few fruit trees and fruit bushes. 

 

So far this year I've started (inside): onions, bell peppers, cayenne peppers and melrose peppers.  I'll be starting mama leone tomatoes and a grape tomato type this weekend.  We also grow 3 types of squash, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, 2 types of carrots, pie pumpkin, a few types of lettuce, melons, and some others depending on what we want to try.  Dandelion and violet grow in our yard so thats always free!  I'm trying more vertical growing this year (trellis/lattice).  Even though we have a big yard, we have to work around the septic tank and field...eww. 

 

I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone!


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#36 of 60 Old 03-09-2012, 04:15 PM
 
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216 little seedlings are taking up a good chunk of my dining room table on the heat mat!

A million varieties of tomatoes, Yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, poblano, bell pepper, jalepeno, lettuce, acorn squash, pumpkin, 'funky' squash (saved cross pollinated seeds), cale, chard, broccoli, basil, chives, cilantro, tomatillos, sunflowers... 

 

Corn, beets, potatoes, onions, snap peas, snow peas and g. beans will go into the ground.  planting more blackberries and blue berries, along with 2 more espeliared apple trees and a pear tree this year!

 

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#37 of 60 Old 03-24-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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Now this is where I belong. Hey everyone! I live in brooklyn, we have a small yard, and this is our first year doing any kind of gardening at all. It all feels sooo overwhelming right now! I bought some strawberry plants, and I'm wracking my brain trying to think where will get enough sun, hhmmm. 


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#38 of 60 Old 03-24-2012, 04:55 PM
 
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So glad I found this thread!


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#39 of 60 Old 03-24-2012, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I bought ten new plant pots today to expand the deck veggies. :-) Going to start some more seeds this weekend too. My stuff is slow to germinate though (despite the freak great weather recently), so it's a lot of hurry up and wait over here. 

 

How's everyone else doing?


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#40 of 60 Old 03-25-2012, 09:27 AM
 
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Awwww, what an adorable picture!! I would love to hear more about your container garden, I think this is what we will be doing mostly. The sunniest place we have is our roof, lol.
 

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PennyRoo, here is our old spot. All container gardens! We had tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, and squash. (Its my sons first day of school, thats why he's in the picture). Also because its fall some of the plants don't look so great anymore.... but just wanted to share. I'll definitely post some more pictures when this years garden (with our new small yard!) is up and running.9933_524223495182_43100222_31207565_3472506_n.jpg



 


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#41 of 60 Old 03-26-2012, 05:45 AM
 
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Well, I planted two strawberry plants, and one raspberry yesterday. I put them in 14 x 14 inch pots that I will be dragging up to the roof today or tomorrow dizzy.gif I hope I planted them right, I really have no clue what I'm doing, lol. They came in dirt and what not and the package said to just place it and put more dirt up to where they did, but on one of the strawberry plants, I can see a bunch of roots at the top, so I should put more dirt, right? Anyone have any tips for these plants also? I bought some corn, cucumber, and dill seeds but I need to check out the scene on the roof first. Also, should I get some mesh wire to go around the fruit plants soon so animals don't eat them? We live in row housing so I think it would be easy for them to. 


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#42 of 60 Old 03-28-2012, 03:14 PM
 
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OrangeMoon, I used  container garden on my roof smile.gif. We always covered the raspberries and blackberries, the birds love them so if they werent covered they would gobble them up.


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#43 of 60 Old 03-29-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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#44 of 60 Old 03-29-2012, 05:16 PM
 
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OrangeMoon - that may not be roots on the strawberries.  They also put our "runners" which are long stems coming from the center of the "mother" plant, which is called the crown.  They grow 6-12" out, then where they touch the dirt they form new roots and leaves to become a "daughter" plant, or offset.

 

You should only plant them at the same depth they were when purchased.  The crown where all the leaves come from should sit on the soil and not be covered up.

 

After a year or two, the mother plant stops producing and can be removed, and the daughters take over.

 

Good luck!

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#45 of 60 Old 03-29-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never thought of doing raspberries in a pot - I might have to give that a try!


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#46 of 60 Old 04-30-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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Hey, subbing and stuff.

 

We have a good-sized backyard that we are tilling up for a garden. So far we have heirloom tomatos, heirloom sweet peppers, rhubarb, strawberries, a white eggplant, and a ton of seeds. And now it's already MAY! Gah! Where does the time go?


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#47 of 60 Old 05-06-2012, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh, my second batch of seed starts are not doing well. This weather has been terrible. The hot peppers and some of the flowers are doing okay, but it seems I've lost the beans and half the chard! 


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#48 of 60 Old 05-08-2012, 07:06 AM
 
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I have some plastic bottle-upside down planters for cherry tomatoes but I would also like to grow chard and kale. Anyone know if they could grow upside down, too? Otherwise, can I just put them in pots? This is my first year trying to grow any food so don't assume I know anything!

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#49 of 60 Old 05-18-2012, 11:10 AM
 
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I decided to use the Eartboxes my mom gifted me years ago. Just this morning I planted the two tomato and two pepper plants in two separate containers. Hopefully they transplanted just fine.

I had purchased two strawberry plants and transplanted into a window box. One died and attracted some bugs that also went after the other one. So they both ended up dying. I am a bit reluctant to buy more strawberry plants. Any thoughts?

What about greens? My mom met someone who told her that she grew mesclun lettuce in a container and it produced enough to have salad on the side of dinner every night throughout the summer. I love the thought of fresh lettuce from the garden but have no idea where to start!

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#50 of 60 Old 05-19-2012, 01:17 AM
 
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Nothing so far - I want to do square foot gardening and have the book, but have not yet been able to scavenge materials to make the beds or be able to afford the proper soil mix {our soil is really really bad here}.

 

I am studying the book though, and have my plans laid out with what I'd like to grow and when. 

 

I am contemplating starting worm composting to build my own soil for the beds in a cost saving measure - we do make a lot of compostables which could be slowly turned into soil. 

Getting started can be really expensive!

 

Do a little shopping around for your soil mix.  My husband has his dad's old '71 pick up and dresses like a "guy", if you know what I mean.  He easily passes as the kind of guy who does work on other people's property for them (contractor, landscaper, something).  If you can find someone like that among your friends and family who will play the part for you, you can buy in bulk from commercial suppliers.  We got our compost from a "Sand and Gravel" place that's open to the public.  We used expanded shale in place of vermiculite (it's much cheaper and doesn't break down over time so we like it much better) and both it and HUGE bales of peat moss were surprisingly inexpensive from a commercial landscape supplier about 15 minutes from our house.  You just have to sound confident when you call.  When they asked for his business name, my hubby just said, "I work under my own name."  No questions asked since he was buying enough for two 4 foot by 16 foot raised beds.  What normal person does that?

 

For the beds we actually bought wood from a place that sells "junk wood"--basically the pieces that are too ugly to sell anywhere else, but a lot of our garden building (ie a raised spinning composter) we built from stuff we found on the free stuff part of craigslist.  There is also a local "repurposed materials" company that sells everything from used billboard ads to old plastic barrels.  Our two composter barrels used to have zantac in them.  We're planning on building a play structure for our kids out of free stuff, junk wood, and repurposed materials.  It sounds really trashy but actually everything we've made comes out looking pretty nice (other than the composter, which is just as ugly as all the other composters out there).

 

We were also were inspired by this film: http://backtoedenfilm.com/#movie.  We had actually tried that entirely by accident in part of our yard and it worked beautifully.  Creates really nice soil from our horrible clay that is all that we have in this area.  We're now doing it intentionally over the entire rest of our property.  It was easy to find a tree service that was paying to dispose of its ground up trees and was happy to leave it on our driveway instead--totally free for us.  We used google maps and just typed "tree service city" (substituting the name of our area for city) and then chose the absolute closest ones to call.  This turned out to be perfect because they will just drive past our house on their way and if there's nothing in the driveway, will dump another tree and continue to do so until we call and tell them to stop.

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#51 of 60 Old 05-26-2012, 08:50 PM
 
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Hello!  Are we all so busy in our gardens we've not had time to post?  I know I have been!  I built 2 new raised beds from a gross old patio - dug up the pavers and used them to create the beds.  I had to do a lot to replenish the soil since it was lying fallow under concrete pavers for who knows how long.  I ended up filling one with 2 blueberry bushes, underplanted with strawberry bushes, and the other bed is my leafy greens bed, currently housing 3 kale plants, about 6 swiss chard plants, lots of butter lettuce heads, and 3 beautiful straggly rows of arugula.

 

We have a pretty small lot but I have been obsessive about analyzing the space to see where I can pack in edibles.  As I posted a couple of months back that I was thinking of doing, I tore up a perennial bed of beautiful flowers (it was a little hard; I love my flowers) in the sunniest spot in my yard, and it is currently housing 6 cucumber plants, some kale, 4 tomato plants, and some squash & zucchini (and some herbs).  All told, in addition to the above, we have another 12 tomato plants (16 in all), a peach tree, and lots of herbs.  I've read that if you want to be sustainable in blueberries you need 1 bush/family member, so I'd like to put in 2 more, and I'm trying to figure out where - maybe galvanized steel bins on the sidewalk strip?  I still have some places with untapped potential where I can add things, even just container, which is a goal for next year.  I'm also analyzing where I can go vertical and do something like woolly pockets on a wall.  I have to admit things are starting to look a little ramshackle (I've always had a pretty beautifully tended perennial garden) but there is something I love about the look of productivity about the property.

 

I'm overjoyed - we have a neighbor with a bit more space than we have, who has agreed to let me create a garden bed on his lawn. We can use his water, we will do all the work, and in exchange he can harvest stuff.  I want this to be a bed for my kids to decide what to grow and do it!  They want to grow things like canteloupe and pumpkins which I have deemed too rambly for our space.  So this fall we will lay down some wet bike cardboard boxes, layer a whole bunch of compost and stuff on top of it, and let it sit over the winter.  Hopefully next spring we will be ready to dig!  I am so psyched with the idea of my kids having a garden just for them.

 

BTW I loved everybody's pictures.  I'm a bit of a luddite and can't figure out how to post mine - but would love to see some more and hear what others are growing!
 


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#52 of 60 Old 05-26-2012, 08:58 PM
 
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I decided to use the Eartboxes my mom gifted me years ago. Just this morning I planted the two tomato and two pepper plants in two separate containers. Hopefully they transplanted just fine.
I had purchased two strawberry plants and transplanted into a window box. One died and attracted some bugs that also went after the other one. So they both ended up dying. I am a bit reluctant to buy more strawberry plants. Any thoughts?
What about greens? My mom met someone who told her that she grew mesclun lettuce in a container and it produced enough to have salad on the side of dinner every night throughout the summer. I love the thought of fresh lettuce from the garden but have no idea where to start!


Do you like arugula?  It is super fast growing - you can direct=sow it into the ground and your seeds will sprout up about 48 hours later.  You can harvest about 42 days later.  It is easy and satisfying.  It's my absolute favorite green, and I've decided to try to grow it all winter under a cold frame.  You can keep sowing it all summer long, every few weeks - it doesn't really mind the cold so you can really have a long harvest, esp if you build a cold frame or some sort of cloche. 


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#53 of 60 Old 05-27-2012, 06:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you like arugula?  It is super fast growing - you can direct=sow it into the ground and your seeds will sprout up about 48 hours later.  You can harvest about 42 days later.  It is easy and satisfying.  It's my absolute favorite green, and I've decided to try to grow it all winter under a cold frame.  You can keep sowing it all summer long, every few weeks - it doesn't really mind the cold so you can really have a long harvest, esp if you build a cold frame or some sort of cloche. 

 

This is a great suggestion - arugula is a fantastic base green in herb salad. With some ham and white wine vinaigrette - one of the best summer lunches out there!

 

 

Yesterday we trekked to the garden center for potting soil, and then I filled up all of our pots. I also planted a thyme that we picked up there. Now we're all set for our veggie seedling order that we pick up at farmer's market next weekend!


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#54 of 60 Old 12-02-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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I made several trips to Lowes and each time I asked for torn bags which they sold to me very cheaply, with prices varying some depending on who was working that day, but I bought manure and dirt for my raised bed gardens.  The lettuce is doing so well we just planted more!  We cover with plastic that came from the painting department (clear floor covering to keep paint off the carpet)  I am eating salad every day now and really happy about it.  Kale and Burpee seeds called mesclun classic mix are best.  The mesclun mix tastes a little oniony and I like it very much. 

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#55 of 60 Old 12-22-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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I love all the posts! I have taken a break with the holidays, but an already looking through my seeds for what I'm doing next year! What is everyone else doing?

~ Kim

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#56 of 60 Old 02-27-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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I'm so excited I just ordered my seeds yesterday! I think I'll be cutting it close with my hierloom tomatoes & sweet peppers (our last frost predicted around April 20 & so time is ticking...).

 

We are in an apartment with a backyard. We built one raised bed last year & I did some square-foot garding. I plan to make two more raised beds as I overbought peat last year & a family member said I could have his compost!

 

I also just ordered worms for vermicomposting & I'm super excited about that too.

 

Other than that, I'm planning on greens (lettus, kale, chard, & strawberry spinach) & beans & a few herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley) & a melon. I'm trying to keep it to stuff I know we will eat. I was a little too adventerous last year. I'm hoping we can pack it all in our yard & still leave room for DS to romp. We are extremely lucky to have a south-facing lot so we can maximize the sun in our little space. Planning to make use of the chainlink fence & the frame for clothes wires to stake & trellis tomatos & beans.

 

This is only my second year gardening with raised beds so I'm in for a lot of work!

 

How are others' plans shaping up for small spaces?


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#57 of 60 Old 03-01-2013, 08:57 AM
 
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Hey there - I wasn't part of the 2012 Small Space Gardening group, but if there's a 2013, count me in!  I've got to get inspired, and though I've always thrown a plant into the ground here and there, really am not too sure what I'm doing beyond watering it.  I rent a place that actually has a large back yard, but it's quite sandy soil back there for some reason, plus hesitate to dig up the middle (since technically it's also the neighbor's space though he never goes back there) which is the prime sunny spot.  So I want to focus on our side of the teeny front yard.  A little bower of flowers.  And containers in the back would be totally great, too!  I've never done a raised bed.  Is that okay as a one-person job?  (though I do have a very helpful son!)  Hmm.  Much to think about.

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#58 of 60 Old 03-06-2013, 11:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MissLotus View Post

Hey there - I wasn't part of the 2012 Small Space Gardening group, but if there's a 2013, count me in!  I've got to get inspired, and though I've always thrown a plant into the ground here and there, really am not too sure what I'm doing beyond watering it.  I rent a place that actually has a large back yard, but it's quite sandy soil back there for some reason, plus hesitate to dig up the middle (since technically it's also the neighbor's space though he never goes back there) which is the prime sunny spot.  So I want to focus on our side of the teeny front yard.  A little bower of flowers.  And containers in the back would be totally great, too!  I've never done a raised bed.  Is that okay as a one-person job?  (though I do have a very helpful son!)  Hmm.  Much to think about.

MissLotus, have you talked to your landlord or neighbor about altering the backyard? We were surprised that our landlords told us to do whatever we wanted (as long as we would return it to it's original condition if we went as far as ripping up grass). Or maybe you don't have to dig up but could plant containers in the sunny spot? I know that would effectively kill the grass, but maybe it'd be enough to throw down some grass seed when/if you move.

 

I think a raised bed can be a one-person job. My dad happened to be in town so helped me put up the wood but I mixed the soil myself (I did "Mel's Mix" for square foot gardening). Actually, my son (who was 3) helped mix it & had great fun trying to pick up the corners of the mixing tarp & then dumping small shovel-fuls of soil into the raised bed. DS also got to pick a seed to plant (he picked corn), so it gave him great incentive to help & we spent many an afternoon out there together.

 

By the way, FWIW, corn was a great seed to plant for a LO -- the seed itself is recognizable & the growth is off the charts -- it is taller than they are.

 

What are some other favorites to plant with LOs? I'll try to start a 2013 thread later this afternoon!


Mama to my little busy bee. 

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#59 of 60 Old 04-23-2013, 10:03 AM
 
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Is there a 2013 thread yet? I'm getting ready to start up my two Earth Boxes for this year and I'd love to get another one at some point. I'm definitely going to do a few kinds of grape/cherry tomatoes and peppers but I haven't decided on what else. I'd also like to try a few strawberry plants this year. Everything has to be in containers, though.
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#60 of 60 Old 04-27-2013, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1382202/small-space-gardening-2013


Apartment Farm - the chronicles of my cooking, gardening, crafting and other such things. 

 

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